Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Smile Time

Have you ever noticed not all smiles are created equal?

They all say different things. Some are forced smiles, masking inner pain. Some are enigmatic, promising unimaginable delight to the one who solves its mysteries. A person’s smile says a lot about how they see themselves and how they see the world. Sometimes it tells you more about that person than they could tell you about themselves.

My brother’s smile is difficult to describe.

Not because there were layers of meaning hidden behind it. If anything, it was the opposite. Tom’s smile left every door and window in his soul thrown wide open, a idiot “I-Am-Awesome-And-The-Whole-World-Is-My-Friend” grin that welcomed whatever the universe had to offer from meeting a new drinking partner to falling down a mountain on skiis.

How do you put something like that in words? You can’t.

Though he only mentioned it in passing, my brother was the person who first introduced me to the idea you can choose to be happy regardless of circumstances. It was a revolutionary concept--“You mean when bad stuff happens, you just DECIDE to be in a good mood anyway?”

What a weirdo idea. I like it though. And as time goes on, I’m finding I’m liking it more and more.

At my brother’s funeral, the priest told Tom’s distraught nephew that “you are your uncle’s face on earth now.” I’m not sure how well something like that resonates with a four-year old but it seemed to calm him down some. For me standing in the background, the thought was scary and comforting at the same time.

The other day my sister-in-law uploaded a bunch of old pictures of my brother. There were pictures of him climbing, skiing, in his truck, and sitting around with friends and his wife.

Most of all, there were pictures of him smiling.

I called a couple of my co-workers over to look, as I did so trying to explain about Tom’s grin and what was so unique about it.

They looked at each other, then looked at me as though I were an idiot. Finally, one of them said. “Your brother’s smile is exactly the same as yours.”

They didn’t know it, but it’s one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dan you made me cry you bastard ;-) Jack still talks about Tom. Before I had met you Tom would tell me about how damn smart his brother was. When he spoke of you he had that smile on his face. brad